Telenor ordered to pay €1.3bn damages to Russian firm

A court in Omsk, Russia, has decided to hold Telenor liable for around €1.315 billion ($1.7 billion) in damages it will appeal.

'Today's court decision is a serious violation of Telenor's lawful rights and interests as a strategic partner in Russia,' said Jan Edvard Thygesen, head of Telenor's Central and Eastern European operations, was reported saying." This suit is an illegal attempt to steal Telenor's investment in Russia.'

Telenor aims to appeal first to a court in Tyumen which, like Omsk, is in Siberia, and thereafter to the supreme court in Moscow, said Telenor spokesman Dag Melgaard. It will lodge the first appeal once the Omsk court has published its written ruling in early March, he said.

The court's ruling is the latest in a series of complex, protracted court cases and appeals that have hampered Telenor's investments in Russia and Ukraine and driven down its share price and credit rating.

It is a particularly bitter blow as earlier this month, it look as though the matter were finally about to be resolved. The court's decision could still have ramifications for the Norwegian incumbent's Indian plans, where is in the process of buying a 60% share in Unitech Wireless for $1.07 billion. The plan to close the deal this quarter could be ambitious.